Howard Alden

Encore! Live at Centre Concord

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AllMusic Review by

Both Ken Peplowski and Howard Alden are talented musicians who are interested in playing songs from a wide range of the jazz spectrum. This second live meeting as a duo is every bit as satisfying as their earlier date at Maybeck, but bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Colin Bailey are added on four of the nine tracks. Each man loves finding forgotten or infrequently played gems such as the opener, "It All Depends on You." Peplowski's lush clarinet is interwoven with Alden's marvelous lines on the guitar in a performance that can only be described as breathtaking. Bill Evans' delicate ballad "Since We Met" and stride master Willie "the Lion" Smith's easygoing waltz are also lyrical masterpieces in the hands of the two. The rhythm section is added on Lee Konitz's "Palo Alto" (a complex reworking of "Strike Up the Band") and a long workout of the oldie "You," as well as on the two numbers featuring Peplowski on tenor sax: the swinging "I Hear a Rhapsody," which is introduced with some wonderful counterpoint, and "Wabash," a bop treasure written by Cannonball Adderley for his record date with John Coltrane but rarely heard since. Peplowski and Alden started their recording careers displaying tremendous abilities on their respective instruments and have continued to grow; this CD is yet another fine vintage for the tasty blend of jazz they produce together.

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